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I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:01 pm

Image

I’m Roger Ver.

I’ve been involved with Bitcoin every waking moment since April 2011.
Before that, I was the founder and CEO of MemoryDealers.com in Silicon Valley.

A rough timeline of my involvement goes something like this:
Nov or Dec 2010, I heard about Bitcoin but dismissed it because no one else was using it, and didn’t research it enough to understand the details.
March 2011, I started looking into Bitcoin bit more.
April 2011, I became fully convinced that Bitcoin was going to change the world, so I bought my first bitcoins.
April 26th 2011, My company, MemoryDealers.com became the first main stream company in the world to start accepting bitcoin for payment.
May 3rd 2011, I began running nationwide radio commercials promoting Bitcoin.
The first one can be heard at https://www.freetalklive.com/podcast/ep ... y-3rd-2011 at 1:02:53 into the show.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_LzrnDnenw

June 2011 I put up a Bitcoin Billboard on the side of Lawrence expressway in Silicon Valley.
Image There have been several versions displayed over the years:
Image
Image
One is still being displayed there to this very day.

August 2011, I made a public bet with the world that Bitcoin would outperform gold, silver, the US stock market by more than one hundred times over the next two years.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfydIbhduu0

Dec 2011 I made my first investment in a Bitcoin startup, Charlie Shrem’s Bitinstant.com
Image

2012, I created Bitcoinstore.com, the first website in the world to offer hundreds of thousands of items for bitcoins at very competitive prices. Image I truly think this was a turning point for bitcoin. Previously people would always complain, saying, “but what can I buy with bitcoin?” With the creation of this website, everyone could now confidently say that you can buy any consumer electronic item you want directly for Bitcoin.

2012 August, I posted the one year update to my Bitcoin Bet. It is amazing to see how far things have come when looking back on this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxC0dIBPzZg

2012, I provided half the seed funding to form the Bitcoin Foundation.

2012-2013, I invested in the seed rounds for quite a few more Bitcoin startups. Many of which are still here, such as Blockchain.info, Bitpay, Kraken, and Ripple. Many others are no longer around such as Bitinstant, Coinlab, Dialcoin, and more.

2013 July, As a favor to MTGOX, I made the below video for them. In hindsight, I regret having made it for them, but everything I said in the video, even with what we know today, was factually true. I saw with my own eyes bank account balances with about $100M USD. I saw with my own eyes a letter from the bank limiting MTGOX to 10 international wire transfers per day, and 100M JPY in domestic transfers per day. At the time the video was made, there wasn't even a suspicion that MTGOX didn't have everyone's bitcoins, and I made no effort to verify their Bitcoin holdings in any way. The MTGOX Bankruptcy didn't come until seven months later. I'm very sorry for having made the video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP1YsMlrfF0

2013 November, I posted the final update to my $1,000,000 Bitcoin bet.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orzhba2dV1A
I donated the $1.1M worth of Bitcoin to the Foundation for Economic Education, FEE.org
If it wasn't for my reading their publications and books as a teenager and young adult, I wouldn't have been able to understand the importance of Bitcoin when I did.
Everyone would be a better individual, and the world would be a much better place if everyone were to read even one of their books.
A few good choices would be:
The Law, $0.99 from Amazon, Free from FEE.org (For years this book has been the #1 best seller in Jurisprudence on Amazon)
Economics in One Lesson $11.99 from Amazon, Free from FEE.org
Be warned, studying economics is like taking the red pill. You will never see the world the same way again.

2014 Feb, After having lived in Japan for nearly ten years, I renounced my US citizenship. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.

2014 Fall, I donated $20,000 USD worth of Bitcoin to Antiwar.com and I like to think I was helpful in getting them to understand just how powerful a tool Bitcoin will be to bringing about an end to the majority of state sponsored warfare.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyU3TgQqtV8


2014 - 2015, I think each individual owns their own body. I think the police, judges, and other law enforcement officers who lock peaceful people in cages for possessing a plant or chemical without the permission of strangers, are the bad guys, and need to stop. I don't think that politicians getting together, writing down words on a piece of paper and calling it a law, alter morality in any way. I think future generations will look upon these people acting as instruments of oppression in the name of the law, the same way we look back upon slave masters, or members of the SS today. The Silk Road's terms of service specifically forbade anyone from selling anything whose sole purpose was to harm or defraud, or that someone was harmed in the creation of. Because I support the individual's right to self ownership, and right to engage in voluntary interactions with others, I couldn't help but support and cheer for people like Ross Ulbricht. Read the charges that he was sentenced to die in prison for very carefully:
Count One: Distributing or aiding and abetting the distribution of narcotics. (Victimless crime)
Count Two: The distribution of controlled substances intentionally accomplished by means of the Internet. (Victimless crime)
Count Three: Conspiracy with others to violate narcotics laws. (Victimless crime)
Count Four: Engagement in a continuing criminal enterprise. (Victimless crime)
Count Five: Conspiring with others to commit or aid and abet computer hacking. (Victimless crime)
Count Six: Conspiring with others to traffic in fraudulent identification documents. (Victimless crime)
Count Seven: Conspiring to commit money laundering. (Victimless crime)
Only counts five and six could be construed in any way to have an identifiable victim if they had been more than simply "conspiring".
Only people with a truly twisted moral compass could think that it is appropriate to sentence a thirty-one year old man to die in prison for the above non-crimes.
ImageImage

To show my support for what's right, I offered to donate $10 for every retweet in support of Ross, and in opposition to the insane war on drugs.
https://twitter.com/rogerkver/status/485478065959493632
It wasn't my intent initially, and I didn't expect my tweet to be so popular, but it resulted in my donating over $160,000 USD to his defense fund.
It's a shame that the the evil doers in the federal injustice system didn't even allow his defense to present a case before sentencing him to die in prison for the non-crimes listed above.

2015, I ended up needing to take over Bitcoin.com myself since the previous controllers of the domain weren't making proper use of it. The current bitcoin.com team are only a few months into the project, but we have lots of amazing things planed. Maybe I will even let a few of them slip out in this AMA.

That's the abridged version of my Bitcoin life.
Additional details can be found in the excellent book Digital Gold, by Nathaniel Popper.
If you want to learn about economics, and how the world works, read any of the books put out by FEE.org or Mises.org

If you want to learn about moral philosophy and being intellectually consistent, read either of these books:
The Most Dangerous Superstition
The Problem of Political Authority

If you only have time for a few short videos, here are a few of my favorites:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGMQZEIXBMs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUS1m5MSt9k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbp6umQT58A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngpsJKQR_ZE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5mZ5FBHg0A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbNFJK1ZpVg

2016 and beyond, I will continue working on Bitcoin and related technologies because I see them as a way to strip power away from those violent human beings who think they have the right to rule over other men.

I'll begin answering the questions in the morning from Japan.
Help spread Bitcoin by linking to everything mentioned here:
topic7039.html

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:11 pm

Hi Roger,

i have some questions:

1. What are your future plans for this forum :) ?

2. I read that you are an investor in the Zerocoin Project. What do you expect from this project? Will it be an independent coin? Will there be a fair launch of this project for everyone?

3. What would you ask Satoshi i you would meet him?



LiteCoinGuy
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More informations about Bitcoin and scaling BTC on

bitcoin.org/en/

https://bitcoincore.org/en/2015/12/23/c ... reases-faq

&
reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:29 pm

Hi Roger,

Thanks for doing this AMA and of course setting up this platform for us to do it on! You provided a lot of great content in this AMA; you're an inspiration to many in this sector and I just wanted to say thank you for that.

My questions are, do you still actively invest in individuals with great bitcoin ideas, bitcoin websites, small startups, etc now that the bitcoin ecosystem has grown so much in the past couple years? Or have you moved on beyond angel investing? What advice do you have for small startups or individuals who are trying to get in front of people like yourself, who want to be "seen" and get some small capital to fuel their idea(s)? Lastly, are there any upcoming projects that you have invested in that the general public doesn't know about, that you can tell us about? :)

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:31 pm

1. What do you think needs to be done to move Bitcoin from its current early adopter phase to more mainstream acceptance?

2. Is there any specific new Bitcoin-related project that you are particularly excited about?

3. Why Japan? :)

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:19 pm

Hi Roger!

Saw a dutch documentary featuring you, nice Lamborghini (did you buy it with bitcoin)? :)

What is it your opinion of the block-size and the hard fork issue(with core developers and gavin disagreeing on certain topics)? Do you think that they will resolve it by december? And since you are with blockchain.info what future features are you planning to implement?

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:43 pm

Hi Roger!

Thanks for all you do - that's a great summary page.

1-- As this industry grows its harder every day to keep up with who's who and what is being done.

2-- What projects and types of tech are you most excited about?

3-- You are probably the most tireless Bitcoin advocate....what do you think of projects using related technology like Ethereum?

4-- I'm totally in line with your political beliefs, they are a solid base for many in this industry-- how do we best welcome more executives and investors to bitcoin who may have different views?

Bruce
==============================
brucefenton.com


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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:18 pm

Roger -

Thanks much for providing your insight on so many issues we all desire to hear from you on. I reached out to you way back in the day and have been encouraged by your openness to connect and respond; even though we don't know each other personally.

Q1. What do you think of the new computers being launched by 21 via Amazon?

Q2. It was revealed that ISIS has about $3M in bitcoin - do you think this is a hit again the technology since it allows criminals like this to operate?

Q3. What do you do to relax? I'd assume that you are not all work?

Have a great day and thanks again for all you do for the bitcoin community.

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:24 pm

Many thanks for everything you do for bitcoin, including setting up this forum, arranging the AMA, helping bitcoin reach a wider audience every day etc etc!

As a p2p system, do you worry that bitcoin could be overrun by institutions (banks for example) who could exert a level of control over bitcoin mining, ownership, or as a means to transact with bitcoin?

You are sometimes referred to as 'Bitcoin Jesus' is this something you mind/ embrace/ abhor?!

Who would you say are the best and worst persons you have met through bitcoin?

What do you think about physical bitcoins? (we believe we have helped bring bitcoin ownership and awareness to a wider audience, but have faced accusations physcial bitcoins 'confuse' the technology)
Last edited by TGBEX on Wed Nov 18, 2015 2:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:05 pm

Thanks for your contributions to the ecosystem.
March 2011, I started looking into Bitcoin bit more.
What was the trigger to look into it more deeply?

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:25 pm

Hey Roger,

1. When did you first hear about Silk Road and did you every meet Ross before he was sentenced, i have seen people saying he used to attend meetups selling cheap coins (not sure if true)

2. Have you always wanted to run your own bitcoin forum or is this a new idea?

3. Since living in Japan have you got yourself a beautiful japanese wife/girlfriend?
Please help Ross and his family during this hard time by donating to the https://freeross.org/ fund. Play at the best provably fair Bitcoin games site here: games.bitcoin.com Need a fantastic Bitcoin wallet Pick up some great Bitcoin.com swag here

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:28 pm

Hi Roger,

What is new about Bitcoin is its censorship resistance. Smart guys like Adam Back and Nick Szabo and Gregory Maxwell say that raising to block size limit too aggressively risks neutering Bitcoin by shifting the incentives towards centralization, which then makes it much less resistant to censorship.

Given this, why are you in favor of BIP101? Will you personally financially benefit more from a centralized Bitcoin that is government-friendly or from a decentralized Bitcoin that governments oppose?

Best,
pa

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:35 pm

What are your thoughts on decentralized prediction markets? What would be the greatest hurdle to the adoption of this technology?

Thanks for setting up this fantastic forum.

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:38 pm

Hi from Spain, Roger.

Some questions to shared with you.

1. I'm conscious that in 10 or 15 years maybe, paper money will be disappear totally. For the other hand in the world, transactions with cash, ( without taxes or black money ) must be necessary in life, the high taxes of the state made that workers, sealers,traders, retail shops, bakers.... they need to do black transactions in real life to avoid pay high taxes for his work. When every currency be digital the state will take the control of ours transactions... The equilibrium between rich and poor will be huge. Would be bitcoin the digital free money necessary to balance this desire? I mean, bitcoin is already Free..but if all the money is digital the unique digital currency with freedom will be Bitcoin..Bitcoin will be the digital currency more precious. What do you think, digital money, digital black money?


2. What happen if 21.000.000 BTC are created and people don't want to pay commission with transactions... Destiny of miners have sense? or when that occurs 1BTC= 1.000.000$ ?

3. Bitcoin security system is really expensive today ( the way to verify transactions ) ...I mean. each 10min / 25 BTC soon 12.5BTC.

Example:
If 1BTC =1000$, 1 day= 1.800.000 $ in security. In comparison to modern bank, how much would be the amount of security?

4.Do you think is necessary a central authority of Bitcoin to solve future problems when blockchain be more important in ours lives?

Thanks !

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:51 pm

In what type of startups you love to invest?
Try Incurex.com for currency exchange

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 8:33 pm

Also When will you make a documentary of yourself Roger(I would very interested to see it)? :)

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:16 pm

If the Hong Kong summit doesn't end with a consensus that includes a sizeable block size increase I think you and a lot of other people will come to the conclusion that the people in favour of smaller blocks don't understand economics and how the gold standard died step by step. I hope you (as a very prominent person in the bitcoin community) will lead an initiative to implement a bitcoin fork. Comments?

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:23 pm

Whats your take on Ripples, Ethereum and MaidSafe in 5 years? In terms of investment potential and digital currency expasion.

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:50 pm

Roger Ver
Thank you for investing in the Truthcoin project.
Paul Sztorc made amazing documentation.
It is good he can spend more of his time on Truthcoin now.

I am building a blockchain in competition against Paul.
https://github.com/BumblebeeBat/FlyingFox

How fast should blockchain gambling be?
Will they gamble on horse races?

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 10:27 pm

Roger -

Q2. It was revealed that ISIS has about $3M in bitcoin
As far as anyone can tell, that story was bullshit:

https://ello.co/zooko/post/4oIyphoYjCmOmnu-HOAOEw

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 10:36 pm

Hi Roger,

What have you learned about investing from your experiences with bitcoin companies?

Is there advice you would give to others about what to avoid?

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Tue Nov 17, 2015 10:51 pm

Roger -

Q2. It was revealed that ISIS has about $3M in bitcoin
As far as anyone can tell, that story was bullshit:

https://ello.co/zooko/post/4oIyphoYjCmOmnu-HOAOEw
Just goes to show you can't believe everything you read and hear :)

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:42 am

Given that a part of your approach with Bitcoin has been one of generosity in donations and standing up very publicly against wrongs, do you think your approach with Bitcoin will or could re-shape the way others choose to live, spend and engage? (especially with the minimized fear of being investigated as a donor by authorities as with antiwar.com, Barrett Brown, Wikileaks etc ...)

Oh, and hi, thanks for the red pill.

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Wed Nov 18, 2015 2:09 am

What are your thoughts on hardware projects like 21.co's Bitcoin Computer? Do you think connected hardware like this will drive adoption at all? Would you invest these types of integrated hardware projects?

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Wed Nov 18, 2015 3:22 am

Roger, thanks for all you do in the space. I know you do more than we see.

Question: What should entrepreneurs be doing to prepare for the up and coming Bitcoin Land Grab? More specifically how should I be setting up my Bitcoin Companies to be in the best position for acquisitions and future partnerships? Should I have several companies for each project, or should I have one parent company with multiple DBAs etc.

Question 2: Are there any points of unusually liability we Bitcoiners should be worried about or prepared for? e.g. maybe early on I suggested a Newbie use MtGox and they lost their retirement, I might be liable for the loss. Is there anything you are looking at from a liability point of view that is rather unique and hard to see coming?

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Wed Nov 18, 2015 7:39 am

Hi Roger,

1. What are your favourite books?

2. Who are the people in Bitcoin that impress you the most?

3. Who will build the roads?

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Wed Nov 18, 2015 8:22 am

Hi Roger,

i have some questions:

1. What are your future plans for this forum :) ?

2. I read that you are an investor in the Zerocoin Project. What do you expect from this project? Will it be an independent coin? Will there be a fair launch of this project for everyone?

3. What would you ask Satoshi i you would meet him?



LiteCoinGuy
1. There is so much to do every day, but a few things on our radar for the forums are:
a. Integrated Bitcoin tipping
b. integration with /r/BTC (done!)
c. "recent topics" section of the forum. (partially done)
d. Something else that is really cool for privacy conscious users, that hopefully we will be able to announce next week.

2. The biggest problem with Bitcoin is that there isn't strong privacy built into the system by default. If an altcoin is to be able to compete with Bitcoin, I think it will be in this area. I invested in both Zerocoin and Moneta because both of these projects are trying to build crypto currencies with strong privacy built in at the protocol level.

3. If I met Satoshi, I would simply thank him for creating this amazing tool that is making the world a better and fairer place right before our eyes.


Thank you for being such an amazing member of this forum!
Help spread Bitcoin by linking to everything mentioned here:
topic7039.html

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:24 am

Hi Roger,
Thanks for doing this AMA and of course setting up this platform for us to do it on! You provided a lot of great content in this AMA; you're an inspiration to many in this sector and I just wanted to say thank you for that.
Thank you too! I can't imagine spending my time on anything else.
My questions are, do you still actively invest in individuals with great bitcoin ideas, bitcoin websites, small startups, etc now that the bitcoin ecosystem has grown so much in the past couple years? Or have you moved on beyond angel investing?
I'm trying to be done investing in new businesses, although if the idea is interesting enough and would become a tool that gives people more control over their own lives, I would still be interested.
What advice do you have for small startups or individuals who are trying to get in front of people like yourself, who want to be "seen" and get some small capital to fuel their idea(s)?
I had never been involved with VC funding before bitcoin, so I only have about 4 years worth of experience now.
In that time, I've learned that experienced VCs look for the following when making investments:
1. Motivated entrepreneurs. They want to see people who are already taking action to make their idea a reality. Lots of people have ideas, but very few actually act upon them.
2. Something that solves a problem. If there isn't a real world need for the service or product being offered, then there isn't much point.
3. Something that can become a platform. VCs are most interested in things that become a platform that millions of people can use and build upon.
Obviously bitcoin fits this category very well.
Lastly, are there any upcoming projects that you have invested in that the general public doesn't know about, that you can tell us about? :)
The general public doesn't yet realize how important Bitcoin will become.
The Bitcoin user base doesn't yet realize how important prediction market platforms like Bitcoin Hive Mind will become.
Help spread Bitcoin by linking to everything mentioned here:
topic7039.html

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:45 am

1. What do you think needs to be done to move Bitcoin from its current early adopter phase to more mainstream acceptance?
We need to spread the word about why Bitcoin is useful to normal people who don't care about economics, monetary policy, or philosophy. I don't know of a single person in the USA who wouldn't be interested in saving 20% on every purchase at Amazon or Starbucks thanks to Purse.io and Foldapp.com. As bitcoin enthusiasts, it is our job to spread the word, so please post tutorials on your facebook and twitter about these great reasons for normal people to use Bitcoin today.
2. Is there any specific new Bitcoin-related project that you are particularly excited about?
There isn't a single magic piece of the ecosystem. It takes all the pieces working together to make the whole ecosystem useful.
All the background infrastructure of wallets, exchanges, and miners, are required to make the consumer facing services like Purse.io and Foldapp.com work, but those two are the ones I'm the most excited about
3. Why Japan? :)
As someone who grew up in the USA, I was always taught that America is the best at everything. Now that I am older and have traveled to many countries, I've learned that there isn't a single best at everything place. There are lots of wonderful places around the world, and different people have different preferences. For myself, I love the punctuality, and attention to detail I find in Japan.
Japanese Halloweens are pretty darn good too.
Help spread Bitcoin by linking to everything mentioned here:
topic7039.html

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Re: I'm Roger Ver, the first Bitcoin angel investor, ask me anything!

Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:03 am

Hi Roger!

Saw a dutch documentary featuring you, nice Lamborghini (did you buy it with bitcoin)? :)
Actually, I bought the Lambo before Bitcoin had even been invented. When I lived in the USA, I was a big fan of motor sports, but since moving to Japan, I lost nearly all interest in cars because I don't have any need to drive any more. I actually sold the Lambo between the time the documentary was filmed, and when it aired.
What is it your opinion of the block-size and the hard fork issue(with core developers and gavin disagreeing on certain topics)?
I'm just an intelligent layman on the issue, and from what I understand, I'm in favor of bigger blocks because I think there are strong reasons to think that bigger blocks will create more decentralization, not less. My opinion can also be summed up by a slightly modified Murray Rothbard quote: It is no crime to be ignorant of the Bitcoin block size debate, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be incredibly complicated. But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on bitcoin block size subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.
Do you think that they will resolve it by december?
I hope so, but I won't be holding my breath. A lot may depend on the scaling bitcoin conference happening in HK next month.
And since you are with blockchain.info what future features are you planning to implement?
I don't think it is any secret that their HD wallet is coming soon, and that they just launched their V2 of their payment API. For the rest, you will need to ask Blcokchain co-founder Nic Cary when he does his AMA on this board.
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